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Track 8.5 - Disclosure and Exclusion: The challenges of collaboration in Open Innovation

Denisa MINDRUTA, Associate Professor, HEC Paris
Janet BERCOVITZ, Professor, University of Colorado, Leeds School of Business
Martin HETU, PhD Candidate

Track's Contacts : 


Over the last decades, innovators have increasingly relied on external collaboration for knowledge insourcing (Chesbrough, 2003). This shift in the innovation process from inbound knowledge to ongoing collaboration requires organizations to manage the knowledge flows across their boundaries (Chesbrough and Bogers, 2014) and to decide the right mix of knowledge sharing and protection against knowledge spillovers (Arora, Athreye, and Huang, 2016).
Some collaborations occur under the shadow of intellectual property rights enforcement. They involve exclusive dealings and the use of a range of governance mechanisms to prevent knowledge spillovers to external partners. While the locus of innovation shifts from inside to outside knowledge sources (Laursen and Salter, 2006), focal actors still maintain a tight control on proprietary knowledge.

Other collaborations adhere to norms of knowledge dissemination and disclosure of discoveries (David, 1998). “Openness” in such situations implies not only reliance on external collaborators but also purposeful knowledge sharing and non-enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). The collaborative models underlining knowledge-production activities span a wide range of practices, including firm participation in patent pools (Vakili, 2016), contribution to open source software (Nagle, 2018; Wen et al, 2016), and multisectoral collaboration for translational drug and therapeutic R&D (Bubela et al, 2012).

These contrasting trends raise numerous questions about the use of disclosure and exclusion strategies in Open Innovation and the effect of these choices on value creation and value capture by innovators. Accordingly, the proposed special track aims at stimulating a wider discussion on why and when firms use one strategy versus the other, and why and when they combine disclosure and exclusion and to what effect.

Our interests on these topics are far ranging, extend to different levels of analysis and broadly cover the research, development and commercialisation stages of innovation. The following is an indicative (but not exhaustive list) of topics to guide potential participants :

1. What are the various determinants of selective revealing of knowledge (Dahlander and Gann, 2010; Alexy et al., 2013; Henkel et al., 2014) and how does selective revealing affect innovation performance and value capture by firms?
2. How do firms organize internally to combine knowledge sharing and protection against valuable knowledge leakages? How do incumbent and startup firm differ in their ability to implement and benefit from knowledge sharing/protection strategies?
3. How do firms choose and incentivize partners to share or protect knowledge in innovation collaboration? How does the balance of cooperation and competition between partners change under various degrees of knowledge protection chosen by participating actors?
4. How does firms’ practices of knowledge sharing and exclusion vary across different institutional and legal contexts and technological regimes? What is the impact of these practices on the large business ecosystems?
5. What are some reputation, status, and competitive effects of protection and disclosure in open innovation?


Alexy, O., George, G., Salter, A., 2013. Cui bono? The selective revealing of knowledgeand its implications for innovative activity. Academy of Management Review 38(2), 270–291.
Arora, A. Athreye S, Huang, C. 2016. The paradox of openness revisited: collaborative innovation and patenting by UK innovators. Research Policy 45: 1352-1361
Bubela, Tania, Garret A. FitzGerald & E. Richard Gold. 2012. Recalibrating Intellectual Property Rights to Enhance Translational Research Collaborations. Science Translational Medicine 4(122): 122cm3.
Chesbrough, H.W., 2003. Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology. Harvard Business Press.
Chesbrough, H., Bogers, M., 2014. Explicating open innovation: clarifying an emerg-ing paradigm for understanding innovation. In: Chesbrough, H., Vanhaverbeke,W., West, J. (Eds.), New Frontiers in Open Innovation. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Dahlander, L., Gann, D.M., 2010. How open is innovation? Research Policy 39 (6),699–709.
David P. 1998. Common Agency Contracting and the Emergence of “Open Science” Institutions. The American Economic Review 88 (2): 15-21
Henkel, J., Schöberl, S., Alexy, O., 2014. The emergence of openness: how firms learn selective revealing in open innovation. Research Policy 43: 879-890.
Nagle, Frank. 2018. “Learning by Contributing: Gaining Competitive Advantage Through Contribution to Crowdsourced Public Goods”. Organization Science 29(4): 569-587.
Vakili, K. 2016. Collaborative promotion of technology standards and the impact on innovation, industry structure, and organizational capabilities: Evidence from modern patent pools. Organization Science 27(6): 1504-1524.
Wen, Wen, Marco Ceccagnoli & Chris Forman. 2016. “Opening Up Intellectual Property Strategy: Implications for Open Source Software Entry by Start-up Firms”. Management Science 62(9): 2668-2691.